How to Ask for What You Want

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(Last Updated On: March 6, 2019)
how to ask for what you want

Do you find yourself too scared to ask for what you want?

Does this sound familiar: You know there are things you deserve (more income, experiences, respect, etc.), but you’re not sure how to ask for it. Whenever you go to ask for something, a little voice in your head says, “you’re asking too much.”

It’s good to be humble and conscious of your requests of other people. But if you don’t ask for what you want and you don’t stand up for yourself, you’ll eventually get taken advantage of.

In this post, we’re going to break down how you can start asking for what you want. I’m someone who’s recovering from the fear of “the ask” and there’s a way to get to the other side. Fearing “the ask” can be crippling in all areas of your life including your finances and career.

So let’s talk about how to overcome it:

Get Comfortable With the Worst Case Scenario

When you fear asking for what you want, you likely fear what the response will be. You don’t want to ruffle any feathers or make anyone mad at you. You don’t want to disturb the peace. You don’t want to charge someone for a service because you don’t want to look like a selfish person.

The problem is, we can’t go through life without ever ruffling feathers or charging people for stuff. Some people aren’t going to like what we ask for. Some people are going to say no to our offer. That’s just a fact of life. Them not liking our ask or saying they can’t afford to pay us doesn’t mean we’re bad people. They won’t kick our dog and they won’t punch our child.

The worst thing that happens is that they express their opinion and we all move on. If you believe there will be bigger ramifications for asking for what you want, think about these ramifications clearly with a level head. Is it really as bad as you’re thinking it’s going to be?

Also, know that you may get what you want only after asking MANY times. I listened to an amazing podcast episode of How I Built This with Guy Raz. It’s an awesome podcast with different idealist and entrepreneurs explaining what they went through to build their businesses and movements.

This episode was with Melanie Perkins the woman behind Canva, which is an awesome online graphic design system. It’s actually the system I use to create all of the designs on this site.

She discusses how she pitched 100s of people to invest in her business. 100s! She kept tweaking her pitch every time she got hesitation from potential investors. Her story is sooooo unbelievably inspiring. You may not get a yes or a positive reaction at first. But if something means enough to you, tweak your approach and keep asking.

Gather Your Proof

Maybe you don’t want to ask for something because you’re worried you don’t have a strong enough case. Perhaps you’re asking for a job you want; or a raise; or you’re asking for someone to pay for a service and you’re not sure it has enough value.

It’s good that you’re thinking about these things. There’s nothing good about asking for a job or raise when you don’t deserve it or you’re asking for payment for a product or service that’s not worth a damn.

But if you’re someone who’s high performing and you have a valuable product to offer, you’re entitled to ask for what you deserve. Track your performance month over month so you can prove why you deserve a promotion or raise. Make a list of the benefits of using your products or services. Get testimonials. Show results.

Know That People Can’t Read Your Mind

If people aren’t readily offering you the promotion, raise, or opportunity, they probably don’t have bad intentions. This doesn’t mean that you can’t get it. They’re just dealing with their own stuff. They probably don’t know what you want. Have you made it clear? Have you explained what your expectations are?

Put plainly—closed mouths don’t get fed. There were many points in my career where I felt disillusioned because I wasn’t getting the accolades, attention, or opportunities that I believed I deserved.

But then I had to take a serious look at myself. Was I asking for these opportunities? Did people know me? Did people know this is what I wanted to have or do?

The truth was no. I hadn’t asked for the things I wanted so people were simply unaware. State your claim and put yourself out there.

Practice Asking

Trust me—starting to ask for stuff can be tough. I’ve always had a problem asking for help when I need it. Asking for something doesn’t make you weak. It means that you’re being proactive.

Get clear on what you want. Prepare yourself mentally for the ask. And then ask!

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